On Monday, we posted video from a candidate forum for candidates in Grand Rapids Community College’s (GRCC) Board of Trustees election.
We also mentioned one candidate, Richard Ryskamp, is a far right “social conservative” that is running a campaign that wants to restore “values” to the college. Even though Ryskamp likely has no chance of winning–the oh-so-liberal Grand Rapids Press even came out against him–its worth noting his views on some of the issues, lest some voters accidentally vote for him (Trigger warning: some of this may be offensive):
COURSE MATERIAL: In his “My Story” page explaining why he is running, Ryskamp describes his major motivation as being the fact that a Freshman English course at GRCC assigned the film American Beauty in class. Ryskamp describes the film as “filthy” argues that it is indicative of the kind of “indoctrination” that public universities engage in. As further examples, he says that University of Michigan engages in “the training of abortionists to the promotion of sodomy through courses like ‘How to be Gay.'”
LGBT ISSUES: Ryskamp is highly critical of programs at GRCC that promote awareness about LGBT issues. For example, he is critical of GRCC’s decision to have gay men as speakers at GRCC during its Diversity Lecture Series. Ryskamp says that the two “promote perversity” asserting: “Among other things, both of these lecturers promoted the opinion that sodomy is wholesome and that certain special privileges should be granted to those who practice it. But no speaker has been hosted to present the opposing view, a view that has been held throughout the history of all enduring civilizations including our own, i.e. that sodomy is unwholesome for individuals and for our society as a whole.” Ryskamp’s homophobia is his main issue.
DRAMA: Ryskamp argues that GRCC’s theater group, GRCC Players, actively produces “propaganda media.” To that end, he argues that the school’s production of “Summer and Smoke” uses “our taxes… to repeatedly to glorify promiscuity.” Similarly, he criticizes the production of “Corpus Christi” in 2003. That play explores gay themes in Christianity. Not surprisingly, Ryskamp’s version of Christianity has room for no such discussion.
It’s also worth noting that in November of 2008, Ryskamp appeared on the ballot for the University of Michigan Regents. In an Mlive.com Voter Guide, Ryskamp said that the most important priority for the University of Michigan is “to end the assault on the religious and moral foundations of our society.”
In that election, Ryskamp ran as a candidate for the U.S. Constitution Party. The U.S. Constitution Party is a far-right political party that is anti-gay, wants to stop immigration and supports “English-only” laws, favors repealing voting rights legislation, and seeks to eliminate social programs such as social security and welfare. Back in 2006, its candidate for Michigan Attorney General spoke at a white supremacist gathering.
During his campaign for the University of Michigan Board of Regents, Ryskamp advocated cutting or eliminating taxpayer funding to educational institutions that pursue agendas contrary to “our nation’s foundation of (biblical) religion and morality.” In this election, Ryskamp has said that he has voted against recent funding requests for GRCC.